Frequently Asked Questions
What to Plant?
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  • I live on the Gulf Coast. Can I grow Roses here?

Northerners assume that rose cultivation on the gulf is easy; but it has its hazards. The heat and humidity cause blackspot to run rampant. And the constant high temperature can cause soil to burn through organic matter leaving it impoverished very quickly.

An Arkansian gardner complained that only his banksian roses grew without blackspot. I'm inclined to believe that some teas, noisettes, and chinas should do well. Their ancestors did well in exactly the same conditions in China. Roses whose characteristics hew too closely to rugosas, foetidas, and gallicas may find rose culture more difficult.

Rely also on local suppliers such as the Antique Rose Emporium, Nelsons, Teas Roses, and Roses Unlimited. Ask about using fortuniana root stock.

Often the experts at these facilities understand the problems unique to this environment and can recommend cultivars especially tolerant of local conditions.

  • Other Places

Each location has its own unique challenges. Although there are some strips of land in California and Texas where the air is clear, sunny, warm, and fairly dry. Here, rose farmers raise the roses for the rest of the country to consume. These are the conditions ideal to the culture of the hybrid tea rose. The noisette, tea, china, damask, and bourbon thrive here, too.

Similar conditions exist in southern France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, in bits of South Africa, and Australia. Most of the world enjoys - or more correctly suffers - less amenable cultural conditions.

It turns out that cooler climates are frequently better for pimpinellifolias, gallicas and rugosas; sometimes for kordesii and wichuriana hybrids as well. Gallicas and pimpinellifolias come to us from cool northern European climates. Wichuriana and rugosa (and by extension, kordesii ) species originate in cool eastern asian climates.

When in doubt, ask a local expert. Try out the rose suppliers nearest you. They have to contend with conditions like your own and will often not bother with roses too difficult to care for.

Find an ARS expert local to your area, and ask them. Most places settled by humans can grow at least a few roses.



There are precious-few roses that are foliferous(F), remontant(R), fragrant(Fr), and trouble-free(T). One idea is the old standby, Cecile Brunner. Thirty years ago this rose was so popular as to be a cliche. A handful of the hybrid musks approach this ideal: Cornelia, Pax, Buff Beauty, Prosperity, and Penelope, perhaps.

Sadly, the general ruleis that you cannot get foliferous and remontant together in roses. And where this rule is broken as with polyanthas, chinas, and floribundas, there is almost never any scent. Noisettes Lamarque and Celine Forestier might be as well. And maybe Baby Faurax and a few other fragrant miniatures. But even among these exceptions flowering will not be continuous on roses with fragrance.

As a rule, it's best to decide first the reason for acquiring the plant:

Landscape (R, F, T) -> Polyantha, Groundcover, Floribunda.

Smell (Fr, R, T) -> English Rose, Shrub Rose, Hybrid Tea, Portland.

Exhibition (R,T) -> Hybrid Tea, Miniature, Floribunda.

Shrub (R,Fr,T) -> Rugosa, Portland, Hybrid Musk, Modern Shrub. (Fr,T) Alba, Gallica.

Then select a color that works. Or if you are creating a nose garden, create a smell that works.


Definitely. Two Canadian suppliers cover most of the gamut of roses suitable for the North American Climate: Pickering Nurseries, and Hortico. Their existence proves that a wide variety of roses can be grown in Canada. Palatine produces roses of high quality, though with a smaller selection.

If one is in USDA zone 4 or colder in Canada, then teas, chinas, and noisettes are out of the question unless one takes special pains witht their culture because of cold hardiness. Usually they are pruned or pulled over against the ground and insulated with mulch or blanket insulation during the winter.

Yet there are many hybrid teas , hybrid perpetuals, gallicas, albas, rugosas, and kordesii hybrids that will fit the bill. Even those well into zone 3 can have roses.

Some people grow miniatures in pots and bring them in. Others grow gallicas, rugosas and kordesii hybrids. Check out the many excellent cultivars raised by Svejda and Buck.

Canadians living on the west coast should definitely try the Kordes cultivars offered by Canadian nurseries. And give special consideration also to roses with RHS awards for garden merit.



Roses for Every Garden